Lauren Brice is a second-year mental health student at Teesside University and has told us about her university experience and given us her top tips on how to prepare for the new academic year.

Open days

Before starting at the university, I attended an open day and loved it – I was able to get a feel for the campus and where things were so that when I started university, I didn’t feel overwhelmed or lost. 


Going to an open day gives you a great opportunity to see what each accommodation building looks like, and helps you decide which one is best for you. The campus tour staff take you around each of the accommodations on offer, give you useful information and any question you have.

My biggest piece of advice is don’t bring anything that you might not need. I know lots of people who brought way too many things in their first year and you end up not using half of it. Remember that being at university doesn’t mean that you’re cut off from the rest of the world, you can always go to shops that are close by to pick up anything you forgot or didn’t know you would need. As long as you bring clothes, bedding, toiletries, something to cook with and something to eat with you’ll be fine.

Settling in

Settling into university in the middle of a pandemic was very difficult, we didn’t have many lessons on campus which made it difficult to meet people from my course and make new friends. To combat this, I became a student ambassador. This allowed me to meet lots of new people from all sorts of courses and it made me feel more like a student.

I would recommend becoming an ambassador if you get the opportunity – it’s a really fun and interesting job to have alongside your studies, however even if that’s not something that interests you, now that restrictions are lifting there will hopefully be lots of opportunities to meet people and make friends, such as freshers events and joining clubs and societies.

A nursing student at Teesside                          

Being a nursing student at Teesside has been very challenging and demanding, but it’s been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. The feeling of seeing patients you have helped recover return home is incredible. 

An average day as a mental health nursing student varies depending on whether you are in university studying the theory or out on placement learning the practical side of things. I think my course is exciting because every day is completely different and you never know what you’re going to learn or see when you walk into a lecture or a placement. During my time at university so far, I have learned a lot about the human anatomy and the physical processes that occur within the body daily. I have learned how to correctly complete drug calculations and administer injections. I have spent a lot of my time out on placement in different clinical settings, learning more about my role as a nurse and the different specialist roles I can take on once I graduate. 

How to prepare

I am currently preparing for the new academic year by making sure that all my notes from the previous year are organised, making it easier to look back at and remind myself what I learned last year. I would recommend making sure that you know all of your login details and how to access all of the online resources before starting the academic year, as it will make your life a lot easier and prevent unnecessary panic on the first day back.

My final piece of advice is to make the most of your time at university. Have fun, meet lots of new and interesting people, and don’t worry about the little things. University is not as scary as you think, and I’m sure that once you get settled you will thoroughly enjoy your time here because I certainly am.

By Lauren Brice